Atiku Abubakar’s Arrogant Shopping At Enugu By Emma Nwosu

Atiku Abubakar, Wazirin Adamawa, is, indeed, a philanderer with a spell on the victim. He is adept at deception after every act of infidelity! Atiku was at his arrogant and cocky elements at Enugu on September 27, 2022, talking down on PDP leaders of the five South-Eastern states, who, unfortunately, could not filter the message but were rather grinning and clapping for a selfish man who, in truth, has no respect for them.

Atiku it was who defied the resolution of all the Southern governors as well as his party’s Constitution on the rotation of presidential ticket between the North and the South, to bulldoze and usurp the turn of the South and, in particular, the South-East (the stronghold of the PDP since 1999) on the 2023 ticket – after taking the turn of the North in 2019, without any challenge by anybody from the compliant South. And he wants to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, another Fulani from the same North – as if the presidency is the preserve of the Fulani.

It was Atiku who led some Northern governors to derail the re-election of his party, the PDP and its presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015 and, instead, campaigned for General Buhari, a fellow Fulani of another party, the APC, thereby, forcing the presidency back to the North. The same saboteur is asking the South-East to back him to become president on the basis of party loyalty that he never honoured. And they were clapping! Where is conscience, equity and integrity in all this?

Only the most gullible would not discern that Atiku is after his personal and regional interests and not that of the PDP – not to talk of the South-East or Nigeria as a whole. He has the born-to-rule mentality and wants the presidency to remain permanently with his people, despite their running Nigeria aground. He couldn’t care less and just wants to be president, not minding that, at 76 and with fragmented education, he can no longer cope with the challenges of the volatile, fast-paced, technological, leadership world of today, especially for a country in disarray. General Muhammadu Buhari was younger than Atiku would be in 2023 when he came to power in 2015, but almost caved in and then receded further into his region and religion and couldn’t provide universal leadership.

The emphasis on war chest and population to win election is misplaced. Our people are disconsolate and in urgent need of salvation. We should be talking of physical and mental capacity, character and track record of prudence. Atiku is just a money bag, deal-maker and transactional politician who is playing on pedestrian generosity but who has never managed a local government, not to talk of a state which is the real test for the Nigerian presidency.

Anybody who has capacity, character and track record can win election with the support of benefactors and compatriots. It doesn’t have to do with having friends and marrying from all the tribes of Nigeria. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo won the 1999 presidential election straight from prison. Atiku could have mobilized an alliance for a Southerner (such as Peter Obi, who was his vice presidential candidate in 2019) if he is truly a unifier. A unifier must be fair-minded. 

Why do we have Federal Character and Quota System? If we are to redefine merit as nominal population for the sake of political power, then let’s drop all concessionary arrangements and go the whole hog of merit in all departments of the country – as we have in football and other sports. 

In the circumstances, Atiku’s bait to make an Igbo the president of Nigeria after his presidency is inequitable, contemptuous and deceptive. That he has placed the same bait of succession before Governor Nyesom Wike – after frustrating him on all fronts – makes this character of deception all the more manifest.

Atiku couldn’t even stand by his pledge to have the chairmanship of the PDP relinquished to the South by the North if he won the party’s presidential ticket. He now insists that change of party chairman is a constitutional matter – suddenly remembering that there is a PDP Constitution to live by. Where was this Constitution when he made the pledge and when he ignored Southern governors and usurped the constitutional right of the South to the 2023 presidential ticket? Then imagine him as President – when he would further be shielded by the Nigerian Constitution and by his people who control the party, the legislature and the judiciary.

Atiku also pledged restructuring and devolution of powers for economic renaissance. But it cannot be over-emphasized that no predator would significantly restructure Nigeria or change the Constitution – for the unfounded fear of losing control. As for his offer of security, it cannot be over-emphasized, too, that someone who lightly recanted his condemnation of Deborah Samuel’s killers would never descend on terrorist Boko Haram, bandits, herdsmen, kidnapers and other Islamists ravaging the country. Has President Buhari fulfilled his pledges on restructuring and security – after eight years?

One could go on and on, but the summary is that the South-East must see through all his deception and focus on the good of Nigeria as a whole. They must stand on the equity of a Southern president and not be disposed to Atiku’s bait and gambling. What is more, the president does not have supreme powers to determine who succeeds him. And, if he had the power (should he become president) Atiku would not willingly concede the presidency to any other region than his, going by antecedents.

In particular, they should be mindful not to abandon Peter Obi (arguably, the most credible and the strongest presidential candidate on offer – in terms of presence of mind and body, character and track record of prudence – whom the disconsolate youths and other critical groups (including the Afenifere of the South-West and the Middle-Belt Forum) have endorsed and who is certain to deploy his well-known enterprise and ingenuity to turn Nigeria around for the benefit of all.

Those who trooped out in Enugu to support Atiku must have done so for selfish, pecuniary, considerations – without a thought for the corporate future of their region and of Nigeria. It is this belief that the Igbo are predisposed to individualism and to be easily bought and placated which gave him the effrontery to displace the South-East on the rotation schedule of the PDP, in the first place and to audaciously seek their romance after the subversion. Let the Igbo prove their detractors wrong, for once.

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